Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Book Review: Deadly Codes by J.P. O'Donnell


In the thriller, Deadly Codes, Daniel Cormac Gallagher, Jr., a Boston private eye, is hired to investigate the death of Jennifer Clark, tragically killed in a car bombing in her own driveway.

Gallagher has been commissioned by Jeanne Campbell, Jennifer's twin sister, to find a mysterious woman-Jennifer's secret lesbian lover who vanished immediately after the bombing. While the authorities continue to pursue their suspicions that the terrorist act may have been intended for Jennifer's husband, Bill, who holds a top-secret position in the counter-intelligence division of the National Security Agency, Jeanne reveals intricate details to Gallagher that intrigue him enough to take on the case. While Gallagher begins searching for the missing woman, he has no idea that a bounty has been placed on his own head-two hired gunmen are plotting to kill him. Gallagher's search takes him to Washington DC, where he discovers that the car bombing is only a backdrop to a complex, treasonous scheme to sell code-breaking formulas to a hostile enemy nation.

As the violent mystery unravels, Gallagher finds himself under deadly attack from two shocking but powerful forces-one he knows and another he never expects.


As with Fatal Gamble, Deadly Codes opens with a stunning scene that will pique reader interest immediately. Having already introduced Gallagher in the first book, O’Donnell wastes little time building him and simply launches into the story itself which is as intricate and pressurized as the first. He uses the same narrative style that gets straight to the point and doesn’t draw things out unnecessarily.

After the events of Fatal Gamble, Gallagher is trying to give up his private eye work but agrees to take on one more case. There is intrigue in the case from the start thought it seems safe enough. As both the danger and mystery increase, the personal battle Gallagher feels towards giving this life up comes across clearly and adds a certain element to this book not seen in Fatal Gamble. The reader gets a deeper glimpse of not only Gallagher but Kate as well in this one.

It is again amazing and evidenced in Deadly Codes how talented O’Donnell is when it comes to writing multiple story arcs. Characters are unexpectedly brought up from the first book and slipped seamlessly into this one alongside completely new, bold characters. The way these different lines come together is impressive and unpredictable and there is again an intense level of intricacy to the entire story line.

This is again a high action book with a fast pace that pushes through things. Spurts of Gallagher’s personal life are intermixed to break things and hold a strong part of the story without overshadowing the investigation itself. Things propel to a surprising ending and leave a few things potentially for another Gallagher installment without causing the reader to feel like they are at a cliff edge.

Source: Review copy from author
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: (February 17, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0595514111
ISBN-13: 978-0595514113

Author's Website


  1. I'm glad I read this great review because I would never consider it based solely upon the cover :)

  2. Just stopping by all the blogs I follow – have been out of town and am feeling out of touch. Thought I would check in with everyone! Stop by The Wormhole if you get a chance!